RESISTANCE 3 - For PS3 - Review by Bamul
Resistance 3 truly is a grand game, capable of satisfying fans of both the first and second entry in the series.
Time Spent: 20 to 40 Hours
The Bottom Line: "Best in series"
Resistance: Fall of Man was Insomniac Games' first FPS game, and one of the founding fathers of the fantastic quality of games that PlayStation 3 exclusives are now known for - released at launch, in Japan and North America in 2006 - landing on the shelves of European gaming shops about a year later. It was followed up with a different, but still great sequel in late 2008. Resistance 2 took many by surprise; some claimed it was an improvement of the Insomniac shooter formula, whilst many hardcore fans of 'Fall of Man' said that it strayed too far from the original idea of the first game. By the latter half of 2011, Resistance 3 was released, with Insomniac Games promising that it returned to the classic formula of the original part in the series, whilst retaining the positive aspects of the sequel. How did it all turn out?
Let's begin by analysing the graphics, and just how much the series has progressed in terms of the visual aspect of its level design. In Fall of Man, we had to fight through some very gloomy environments with a depressing atmosphere. It worked for the game's setting, but got tedious by the time we had seen so much of the same colour theory. The game was set in an almost post-apocalyptic England, so they definitely got the horrible weather right. In Resistance 2, we had to fight off hordes of monsters in the US. We were met with a generally more colourful environment and more diverse level design. It was definitely a step up from the first game, but it also forgot that it was meant to tell a sad story through its visuals too (as it predecessor did) and felt a bit alien when compared to FoM. It seemed like the series was struggling with finding its own identity, especially so when the tie-in game Resistance: Retribution for the PlayStation Portable returned to the more forbidding visual style of Fall of Man.
Resistance 3 finally gets it right, by combining the diversity and vibrancy of Resistance 2 with the dark and sorrowful flair of the first game. In addition, everything in the graphics department is improved from a technical point of view, as well as its artistic equivalent. Resistance 3 starts off in the southern states of the USA, with a mostly brown and orange palette. As the protagonist journeys further north towards his objective, the environments around him change to darker and colder scenery - which signifies both the shift in climate and the main character's increasing solitude. So, in short: his surroundings look stunning. Everything is also shown in a much grittier and realistic way, since the game finally shows the survivalist civilian perspective of the Chimera invasion, rather than that of the military liberator one. However, it is not just the environments and their atmosphere that have been modified to a better standard, but the characters, weapons and animations too. Simply everything looks better than it ever has before. Is the game as beautiful as Killzone 3? Maybe not from a photo-realistic standpoint, but it is still definitely one of the best looking games on consoles and quite special in its own way. Insomniac have finally given the Resistance series its own atmosphere. Much like with BioWare and their Mas Effect series, it took them three games - but both of them eventually got there, doing so in style.
The Resistance series has always been set in an alternate cold war background, where the world is invaded by hordes of monsters known as the Chimera - originating from Russia and rapidly tearing their way through the entirety of Europe, all the way to the Americas. The plot of the third game is a bit different to that of its brethren, as we no longer play as Nathan Hale, but one of his former squad members; a hardened man named Joseph Capelli. For reasons obvious to everyone who has played the previous game, Capelli has been dishonourably discharged from his duty. He vowed to stop fighting for as long as he could, fell in love, started a family and tried to survive by hiding from the Chimera. Four years later, the monstrosities attack Joe's town, after being unintentionally led to it by Dr Malikov - a Russian scientist who used to co-operate with Hale's squad of Sentinels. After a massive plot to freeze the entire planet is revealed by Malikov, Capelli bids farewell to his wife and son, having to embark on an epic journey to New York City in order to stop the Chimeran scheme.
Overall, it is an interesting tale - though not as interesting as that of its predecessor, even though more emotionally moving and with plenty of strong characters. There is nothing quite as surprising and unexpected in the game's story as there was in Resistance 2's ending, but there is one killer plot twist which comes close to it. Each personality is very well tailored, though there are a few side characters that could have been explored further. Some of the plot's elements are ripped straight from Half-Life 2, as are some of the game's levels, but Resistance 3 still manages to retain its own identity throughout, even if losing a bit of innovation in the process. Although the story of this game is slightly above average for a shooter, it is still quite standard fare, strengthened by some very likeable characters and its protagonist. As always, in traditional Resistance fashion, the backstory of the game and its setting are fleshed out through optional, collectible journals. The desperation of the battle for survival of the human species in a post-apocalyptic environment is captured just as well as it is done in Fallout 3, but not quite as strongly as it is in Metro 2033.
Of course, as with any atmosphere, the visuals alone cannot always hold it all up. A suitable component in the audio department is needed to back it up and enhance the ambience. Insomniac does this very well by incorporating a stellar soundtrack with its own unique melodies, distinct from those of the previous games in the series but matching in essence. Each piece of music fits the part of the story it is assigned to, be it a rhythmic thudding during a chaotic gunfight or a mellower tune played in the background of a calmer moment. The sounds of various guns and explosions used in the game are well-recorded, now giving the game a distinct sense of recognisability. The same applies to the voice acting, as each NPC and the protagonist are backed by convincing performances from their respective actors. On the whole, the quality of Resistance 3's audio design lives up to the rest of the game's features.
As it is has been with most of Insomniac's games (from Ratchet & Clank, right up to now), Resistance 3 shines the most with its gameplay and very clever weapon and enemy design. So, what makes Resistance 3 so special? What makes it stand out from the sea of all the other cliché shooters out there? Firstly, the health system - in that your health does not regenerate and you have to collect health kits yes, that's right, a truly classic gameplay mechanic that is generally not used in most modern shooters. Time and time again, it has proved to be an important ingredient of creating a challenging experience. Here it does so as well, making Resistance 3 a much more exciting game to play than many of its young relatives in the FPS genre.
Secondly, no limit to how many weapons you can carry. Once again, good old classic stuff; why should a game that doesn't try to be realistic ever limit you to carrying just two weapons? Well, Resistance 3 doesn't, and it only benefits from this. This is especially important when a game's arsenal is as massive and innovative as that of each part in the Resistance series. Moreover, the game doesn't treat you like a baby and assumes you're smart enough to take cover by yourself. There is no broken cover system put in place to hinder your progress.
Thirdly, it's the diversity in the game's design. Insomniac used to be known for their platformer series. One of the things that have always made the Resistance series great are the mechanics Insomniac have learned to use from their R&C series, then applied to the shooter formula. Here, it is the fantastic enemy design. There are various distinctive types of Chimeran troopers. From the generic, yet fearsome Hybrids - to the advanced Steelheads; from the fast and creepy Grims - to the terrifying, giant arachnid-like Widowmakers; some of these are new, some of these are old, but there has never been any shortage of variety in the fearsome adversaries of the Resistance series, and its third iteration is no exception. Instead of having just one boring type of opponent who shoots back at you, the game mixes it up with a range of organic (as well as some larger mechanical) hostiles who employ different tactics and utilize different weaponry to fight you. This ultimately makes the game more thrilling.
Thankfully, the assortment of guns given to the player to confront the packs of Chimera is just as varied and powerful. Older weapons return, like the HE .44 Magnum (a revolver that fires explosive rounds), the Bullseye (an alien assault rifle which can 'tag' enemies), the Auger (a weapon that can shoot through walls), the Marksman (a three-round firing carbine, which deploys an automatic turret with its secondary fire) and many more. A few new weapons are also introduced. Among them are the huge sledgehammer and the Mutator - a chemical, man-made weapon that fires a biohazard which causes bulging cysts to appear on an enemy, effectively turning them into flammable land mines. There are many other firearms, all just as creatively designed as we have come to expect from the great minds at Insomniac.
What of the game's multiplayer component? In recent years, everyone has come to expect that every singleplayer shooter of up to 10 hours in length has to have great online multiplayer, but that is not the case with Resistance 3. For some bizarre reason, the awesome competitive multiplayer of Resistance 2 that allowed up to 64 players to duke it out on large maps has been completely changed for the worse. Now we have more close-quarters maps that allow only 16 players to play on each map. The gameplay and stat progression, as well as almost everything else about the MP, has been completely CoDified. It's a step backwards for the Resistance series, in terms of its online features. There are a few unoriginal game modes and generally nothing that great to stand out from the generic Call of Duty clone. Even the extensive co-op features of Resistance 2 have been critically reduced.
Thankfully, PlayStation Move support has been put in place to increase replayability. How well does it work? Well enough. There are some awkward moments if you want to do some of the other actions besides shooting and moving, but the motion controls are very responsive and it's very fun to use the motion controller, especially so if you have a gun accessory that allows you to point and pull the trigger as you would on a real pistol or rifle.
Now the time has come to summarize what makes or breaks Resistance 3:
GAMEPLAY - 10/10 (Marvellous)
An awesome singleplayer campaign that mixes plenty of classic gameplay mechanics, great level design and stunning set pieces is more than enough.
STABILITY - 8/10 (Impressive)
Everything runs at a mostly consistent frame rate, with no screen tearing or graphical glitches and only a few gameplay bugs; two of which forced me to load my game.
STORY - 7.5/10 (Good)
It is an interesting tale, with a relatable protagonist and supporting characters, but nothing quite outstanding enough to stand high above other shooter stories.
GRAPHICS - 9.5/10 (Incredible)
Some very well crafted graphics, a developed art direction and an engaging atmosphere make Resistance 3 one of the best looking Sony exclusives.
SOUND - 9/10 (Outstanding)
A soundtrack that reinforces the strong atmosphere and gives the game its identity, captivating voice acting and believable sound effects add up to make outstanding audio.
LONGEVITY - 8/10 (Impressive)
The campaign takes around 7 hours to complete (though that can easily stretch to 20 hours for completionists, spanning multiple playthroughs) and although the disappointing online multiplayer will not keep you entertained for long, there are optional co-op features and full PlayStation move support that extend the game's life.
Ultimately, Resistance 3 is an outstanding game. It begs for an even higher rating, because its singleplayer is truly amazing, but is denied a 9.5/10 due to its forgettable multiplayer and short campaign, as well as some very few but still noticeable hitches along the way. Furthermore, it lacks originality in its level design. It really does return to the classic formula of Resistance: Fall of Man, whilst keeping most of the good aspects of Resistance 2 - but at the cost of great online multiplayer. How does it compare to its main competitor on the PS3, the amazing Killzone 3? Well, it's certainly not as polished but more ambitious. It is better in terms of story and singleplayer, but worse when speaking of multiplayer and graphics. Overall, it stands on an equal footing with Killzone 3. It truly is a grand game, capable of satisfying fans of both the first and second entry in the series.
OVERALL RATING - 9/10 (Outstanding)
I hope you enjoyed reading this review. If you thought it was good, please give me a thumbs-up at:http://uk.gamespot.com/resistance-3/user-reviews/802969/. The next review I will post will be of Red Dead Revolver for the PS2. Thanks for reading and have a nice day!